YOUR HORSE LIFE
shipped back to the racetrack, and
our relationship became one of long
At the age of 4, he was purchased
privately, but continued to race with
upstanding trainers and at the elite
tracks for two more years, eventually
tackling the Grade 3 Excelsior Stakes
at Aqueduct. I stood in my living
room screaming at the television
with tears streaming down my face,
realizing he had done it. My heart
horse was a real racehorse—a graded
A Slow Decline
But then he sank. Further down the
ranks, further down the chain.
After a long career on the
track, a Thoroughbred
returns to his first home.
I can still remember holding on to the leather shank with trembling hands, anxiously looking around the stall and watching the mare that I was restraining. The bitter March air was biting through my jacket, and my bare hands were growing numb. It was my first day at Chesapeake Farm, and my first day on a commercial Thorough- bred breeding farm in Lexington, Ky.
An Impressive Start
I listened as the veterinarian examining the mare and her owner spoke of foaling,
pregnancy checks, and racing. I understood negligible amounts of the conversa-
tion, but stood at rapt attention, eager to learn.
And then I overheard them discussing a horse named Marilyn’s Guy. He had
just won his first race by eight lengths—a distance that even I knew was great. It
was a huge achievement for his breeder, as well as a much-needed boost to his
dam’s page. To say the farm was ecstatic would be putting it mildly.
Slowly I began to feel comfortable in my surroundings. Spring turned into
summer, and his name was mentioned again. Marilyn’s Guy was coming home;
he would need surgery on his throat. I had been assigned to the barn of horses
rehabilitating from injuries, and was therefore tasked with his recovery.
And then I saw him. At 17. 3 hands, he dwarfed my 5-foot frame, but his gentle
aura filled the stall.
I quickly fell in love, and dreamed of swinging a leg over his massive back
and galloping toward a jump. But I’d learned to never fall in love with a
horse that wasn’t mine, and after a proper rehabilitation, Marilyn’s Guy was
BY CARLEIGH FEDORKA
PHOTOS COURTESY CARLEIGH FEDORKA